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lincoln295
08-05-2010, 08:50 PM
First let me tell you all I am NOT an arborist and don't pretend to know about trees. The problem I am concerned with is the rocks placed around the base of this maple. This is on my own property and they were already there when I moved in. I want to remove them and do a small mulch ring but I am worried that the roots may be too exposed possibly damaging the tree. I was going to lightly shovel the dirt away from the outside and then use a hose to wash the rest form the trunk. What is the best way to handle situations like this? I know the tree was planted before the stone was installed. Any idea why the trunk is splitting?(see pic). I noticed a decline in leaves this year. what is a good fert for these trees. I only have 26-0-11 .14-14-14. and 18-24-12. all lesco. I use the triple 14 on ornamental Is this ok for this tree or should I call for an injection fert?
Thanks for any help you can give me.

Smallaxe
08-05-2010, 10:03 PM
Bark, cracks on maples, all the time, particularily in wet years. The leaves are dropping off a lot of different trees, because so much water produced excessive leaves, and now in the heat, they are cutting back. Natural cycle.
Fertilizing trees is a stupid idea. Rapid growth of woody plants, invites disease and cracked bark. Move the stones away from the trunk, and expose the root crown at the base. Beyond that, no big deal, to get rid of the stone. Just cover with a good, moisture conserving soil.

lincoln295
08-05-2010, 10:38 PM
Thanks for the reply. So it would be ok to remove approximately 18" of soil from the base to make it level with the grass and then add mulch. I want to get rid of the wall blocks.
Posted via Mobile Device

Smallaxe
08-05-2010, 11:27 PM
Are you talking about going 18" down? It looks to me like 3" off the trunk is about right. It may survive some major root removal, but could very possibly kill the tree.

Think Green
08-05-2010, 11:46 PM
Lincoln,
I am confident that this tree was planted B&B or from container raised off the ground because this spot is either level or low. The wall was added later on as the roots started growing upward instead of downward as needed. All the moisture is being kept at or near these stones as the feeder roots are shown under the stones. Strangulation and or girdling is imminent on this poor tree. Taking down the wall stones and removing the rocks will help the tree but cutting too many of those surface roots will cause some major damage. I dont know from the picture of a more wider angle of the lawn but from my angle I don't see any other surface roots. If not, then all the roots are near the surface of this tree and the only supporting roots is the tap root and maybe some shallow lateral roots. This tree is becoming nitrogen deficient competing with the grass or lack of fertillizer thereof and excessive water.
You can remove the materials and stones. I would find the drip line and extend the bed outward to this area and a couple of feet beyond that and then mulch the area.

Stillwater
08-06-2010, 02:13 AM
I like post #2....If this was my tree I would remove the soil to expose the trunk flair and it might be beneficial to surgically cut some (not all) of the exposed sgr. if unsure its best seek out a local arborist.

mdlwn1
08-06-2010, 08:30 AM
That is NOT a nitro deficient tree. Not that I know what it is, but I have seen similar looking leaves on Potasium deficient trees during stress. A soil test and or tissue test could provide more info.

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 09:37 AM
... after removing the wall will the roots move downward to help stabilize the tree?...

There are already roots, down there. I have cut surface roots off of the crown down over a foot deep and left the root ball exposed, because I needed a driveway there. That was only half of the tree. And it was an oak. After about seven years, it is still alive and growing.

Your tree would look funny, with the upper half of the root ball, trimmed and above ground. Disease and decay would be of primary concern. Going slowly, to see what you have, doing minimal damage along the way, and doing it after first frost, and perhaps you got a prayer.
The bad thing about arborists, is that they are paranoid about everything and trees are more fragile, than a morning glory, on a sunny day.

lincoln295
08-06-2010, 10:05 AM
Here are some more pics to help show the problem

lincoln295
08-06-2010, 10:08 AM
This is the look I would like to have. Mulch level with the turf.

Think Green
08-06-2010, 10:35 AM
lincoln,
I hope that tree is a Trident Maple as I surmise it is!!
Without going into alot of argument here other than getting the stones from around the basal area and the rocks out of the roots, the tree should survive and hopefully callus off the crack. There is deep roots supporting this tree below...........evidently the previous owner didn't allow for expansion of the trunk. You guys have had plenty of extra rain to cause the influx of more leaves this season. This will lead me to think that as SmallAxe mentioned as excess leaf growth will lead to sudden leaf drop as the heat packs on. This is natural of a trees defense against moisture retention and sugar production. The rains have depleted some type of nutrient deficiency only detectable by a soil sample and tissue sample. If you are planning on mulching around that tree........extend the bed to the end of the drip line. If no one else will admit this is the best thing to do, then the Arborist's Society is losing ground on educational and professional practices taught to its Arborist's. I gave up on tree surgery several years ago because it was too impractical around my area. With the big ticket store's offering free replacement of dead and dying trees and shrubbery with the proof of receipt, the public has become lazy and irresponsible. If it dies........someone will replace it!!!!For Free!!
The photo of the root cutaway where you removed one of the face stones......shows excessive root massing. These are a small part of the feeder roots..they are the small ones that draw moisture, release toxic byproducts and absorb nutrients from the subsoil and topsoil. If these things are restricted and can't find the nutrients on top as they are used to doing, the tree will suffer. It is no different that spoon feeding any type of grass or shrub and then suddenly taking away the food after all the roots are used to being fed.

Think Green
08-06-2010, 11:14 AM
SmallAxe,
Your comment on the Arborist being paranoid and handling trees as though they are fregile.
I will agree but with a degree of skepticism. The way I see it is this!--You go out and investigate a 300 year old oak that is 15 feet in circumference and is 80 feet tall whom is dying from Lord knows what. You spend a hour digging around the base............looking into the canopy with binoculars for signs of decay, holes,cracks,rodent entry,etc. Take samples to the State Guru's......perform the Resistograph tests to check the integrity of the wood inside for heart rot and decay. Sometimes, the right thing.......the correct thing isn't always in perspective. A tree of this magnitude will cost in the lower 3-5 thousand dollar range to remove and de stump if you screw up.............and it is at your expense. So, I am with the Arborist's whom are anal and are pessimistic about just jumping over barrels here on touching a tree's natural existence. Mother nature puts trees all over this planet by seed, nut, wind dispersion,etc. Where they choose to root is up to the growing conditions. This site isn't always the best place as only nature can dictate. Humans come in an plant trees, plants, shrubs and grasses in valiant hopes to create something impressive and massive to admire. Only nature can choose the weak from the strong............................all we can do is offer advise and hopefully administer tidbits of knowledge for an ailing tree that has evidently been incorrectly planted in the worse care scenario.

Smallaxe
08-07-2010, 12:23 AM
We are not talking about a 300 year old oak. Nature plants by haphazard criteria, and most of them die b4 the age of 10, because of overcrowding.

Should we fertilize a 300 year old oak?

lincoln295
08-07-2010, 03:06 PM
Well he is the progress so far. I removed all the wall stones and found a hugh infestation of bugs and ants. I mixed up some sevin and sprayed now I have to wait till tomorrow and will try to remove some dirt. I will try to wet it first to soften. Right now with the roots it is just like concrete.

lincoln295
08-07-2010, 03:33 PM
BTW I did find out the tree was planted 4 years before the wall was installed.
also the tree was planted level with the turf.

Stillwater
08-07-2010, 04:07 PM
you will have a happier tree

Think Green
08-08-2010, 09:59 AM
Smallaxe,
To answer that question...............deep root injection if possible.! Slow release......fert! Low Salt content!!
Near a group of church's here, there is a Oak tree that is more than 20' in circumference and was subject to limb removal from a storm years ago. The problem with this tree is it is a part of the down town historical society and is a part of nostalgia. It has a wonderful aesthetic value!!! There is pavement, concrete, and busy streets that encircle the entire CRZ.........so the tree was Mauget Fertilized by another Arborist. The tree is still doing fine but only time and weather will tell. In this case--deep root injection wasn't an option as it was not in the best interest of the tree to have encircled the CRZ with all those roadways. Just a couple years past, during another storm, a large oak fell in this same area from straight line winds............fell on a parked car at a red light with mother and infant inside. The jaws of life had to be used to extract the infant and mother. Happens everywhere I am sure. Decayed roots and restricted later rooting and hard soils were to blame. Anytime you go through a severe drought season...........the soil hardens and other places become powdered. Heavy rains along with sudden dounburst winds can sway trees from their already weak soil penetrated miserable surroundings. It has no where to go but down!!!

Smallaxe
08-08-2010, 10:47 AM
I have an oak that is at least 20" in diameter, in my front yard. I had it topped to about 10' tall, to eliminate shade over the garden, I wanted. It has a nice round canopy at this point, that provides just the right amount of shade at the lower levels.

When ever trees stand alone with their surface roots pinned down by asphalt and/or concrete, you need to think about what the tree is going though.
Where it the water getting in, where is its strength coming from, and what danger does it pose.

I contend that fertilizer, esp. N, is going to produce rapid, weak, water sprout type growth on the new branches, year after year, making weak, large branches one day.

If cities pruned their tall windcatchers properly, they could eliminate a lot of their problems, and spend less time plant cheap kr@p because there is less liability.

lincoln295
08-08-2010, 03:51 PM
Update: I watered and tried to remove the dirt but just keep running into roots. You can't believe how compacted this thing is. I don't know what to try next. Anyone have ideas?

Think Green
08-08-2010, 08:58 PM
That tree was planted 4 years before the bed was placed around the trunk...at ground level??????
You guys in upstate NY must get a hell of alot of rain and have hard soils. What is funny--is the 3 separate layers of root growth and a layer of rock...........then another layer of roots and rock.
The layering of rock kept the moisture at the surface and obvious surface watering posed an easy access for the roots to grow on top of the ground rather than grow downward. I bet the previous owners fertilized the tree over the top of that face stone bed. However, the roots did well above ground considering the winter weather months.......so I tip my hat to this species of MAple. I can guarantee that this tree would have died down here planted like that.
From here, considering an Arborist in your area with native soil familiarity should advise you to level off the slope on those roots out to the dripline. Leaving these roots exposed will become dry and brittle if not covered with some burlap until the decisions are made on what to do. Extending the bed to the dripline will be the best advise I can give you, so you better hurry and make a calculated decision based on the growing conditions of your area.

Good Luck!!!

Kiril
08-08-2010, 09:18 PM
Update: I watered and tried to remove the dirt but just keep running into roots. You can't believe how compacted this thing is. I don't know what to try next. Anyone have ideas?

What did you expect it would be like?

Anyone have ideas?

Either put it back together or cut the tree down, grind the stump, and start over.

Smallaxe
08-09-2010, 10:02 AM
I'd at least like to see what it looks like, with all the dirt stripped away, b4 it's killed. :)

Stillwater
08-09-2010, 10:50 AM
oh absolutely, have at it, start grub hoeing that mass out of their!

JRM31
08-10-2010, 02:23 AM
Not a tree expert by any means, but I will try to add some insight. The young fibrous roots that you are looking is most likely a secondary root system; I see this all the time when planting b and b stock. Root tissue and shoot tissue are very different, that is why when planting trees the root flare or zone of rapid taper should be just above ground. When the trunk of the tree is in contact with the soil the constant moisture will cause the tissue to decompose and the plant will grow a secondary root system to cope with the loss of tissue transporting for storage. Looking directly at the base of the trunk the roots look to be girdling the tree another common problem of maples and poor planting practices in general for any type of tree. Girdling roots will also lead to deformity of the trunk and the splitting that your seeing. Now for the answers to your question as what to do... any qualified Arborist should tell you that it can be a double edged sword. The girdling roots that are choking the tree may also be the ones keeping it alive. My advise would to you would be to take the fibrous roots out totally. Based on the size of the tree there is more sustaining its life than that small mass of young roots, also if you don't find the flare i would also recommend contacting an Arborist for a root crown excavation that will probably expose the larger roots also encircling the stem. Alright I know I just put out a lot of information and there may be some that know more than me or just want to contradict me, but from what I have learned and observed while working I would come to these conclusions.

One final note from the leaf pictures that you took the tree also is very chlorotic, I would guess that you have a soil with a high pH that is restricting the availability of one or more of the micro-nutrients that your tree needs. Adding Sulpher to the soil will lower the pH to free up those micros if they are there. Injections are also a possibility but in my opinion it is just a band aid. Soil amendments should be done after a soil test.

Kiril
08-10-2010, 09:26 AM
Not a tree expert by any means, but I will try to add some insight. The young fibrous roots that you are looking is most likely a secondary root system; I see this all the time when planting b and b stock. Root tissue and shoot tissue are very different, that is why when planting trees the root flare or zone of rapid taper should be just above ground. When the trunk of the tree is in contact with the soil the constant moisture will cause the tissue to decompose and the plant will grow a secondary root system to cope with the loss of tissue transporting for storage.

Come on man ..... please do some research before you post.

BTW ... I'm not seeing any girdling roots here ... can you point them out?

JRM31
08-10-2010, 03:04 PM
Kiril, Look at the forth picture the roots up against the trunk. What research do you suggest I do before I post? I'm not talking about a secondary root branching off a primary root, trees will grow entirely new root systems when planted too deep I see it all the time. It is obvious that you like everything to be native and natural by past posts of yours that I have read, so you of all people should see what I am talking about. Walk around a naturally wooded area and look at the base of the tree where it goes into the soil you will see the taper i am talking about. Now go through an urban area and look at the same area of trees, they will probably look much different in most cases. Maybe you California people are just so much more advanced than us mid-westerners but i know my facts. Granted i could have elaborated much more about why and how a tree grows a secondary system but it wasn't necessary to go into great detail. It always seems that you need to be right, I have no problem when I am wrong and if I am you can tell me why... Please...

JRM31
08-10-2010, 03:31 PM
Common terms may vary by location and that is my fault I can't expect everyone to speak the same language. To Kiril the google plant expert try searching for adventitious root development. That may help you find what you need to crucify me.

Stillwater
08-10-2010, 04:23 PM
A sgr root is clearly seen in post #1 forth picture down from the top.

Kiril
08-10-2010, 05:02 PM
Kiril, Look at the forth picture the roots up against the trunk. What research do you suggest I do before I post? I'm not talking about a secondary root branching off a primary root, trees will grow entirely new root systems when planted too deep I see it all the time. It is obvious that you like everything to be native and natural by past posts of yours that I have read, so you of all people should see what I am talking about. Walk around a naturally wooded area and look at the base of the tree where it goes into the soil you will see the taper i am talking about. Now go through an urban area and look at the same area of trees, they will probably look much different in most cases. Maybe you California people are just so much more advanced than us mid-westerners but i know my facts. Granted i could have elaborated much more about why and how a tree grows a secondary system but it wasn't necessary to go into great detail. It always seems that you need to be right, I have no problem when I am wrong and if I am you can tell me why... Please...

I will whittle it down for you.

When the trunk of the tree is in contact with the soil the constant moisture will cause the tissue to decompose and the plant will grow a secondary root system to cope with the loss of tissue transporting for storage.

You don't see any problems with this statement?

With respect to the girdling roots I am having a real hard time seeing how you are considering those as girdling.

Kiril
08-10-2010, 05:07 PM
To Kiril the google plant expert try searching for adventitious root development. That may help you find what you need to crucify me.

The "google plant expert" is about 3 classes shy of a second BS in applied plant biology from UCD. Is that good enough for you bud or do I need to have the university mail you an official transcript?

JRM31
08-10-2010, 09:05 PM
Ok, so lets get this straightened out... Your response to my post was not specific just that I am basically a idiot. I responded with some more specific information, and now it seems that you only want to nit pick over one word. Should I have use decomposed, no I could have worded it better but this forum isn't full of people getting there undergrads in plant biology, its full of home owners and grass cutters. I realize my response could have been better worded, I should have just used adventitious roots in the first place. For the most part it seems that the wording is now the only issue correct? Does my response seem plausible and do you endorse the plan of action? If not why, I know its hard to tell without a firsthand examination but lets toss some ideas around. What was your first BS in? genuinely curious.

Think Green
08-10-2010, 10:21 PM
31,
This brings up the subtle meaning of the word Adventitious root fibers. These are the roots that occur from buds and not from a woody stem,etc. I don't think these roots from the picture are formed as a part of Apomixis as in stem cuttings such as the means of rooting cacti and other such processes. If anything, it can be similar to stress rooting.
I will not bring up Pneumataphoric root formation...!!!!

Kiril
08-10-2010, 10:40 PM
I should have just used adventitious roots in the first place.

Gee ... ya think ... and I was nit picking over an entire sentence. Wording is everything .... and what you initially stated was simply wrong. Don't takie offense ... just look up the information if you aren't sure about it next time and you will avoid getting corrected by someone who might know better.

Does my response seem plausible and do you endorse the plan of action? If not why, I know its hard to tell without a firsthand examination but lets toss some ideas around. What was your first BS in? genuinely curious.

Personally I think when/if the OP gets the roots out of there, it could kill the tree. If is doesn't kill it, it will most likely look like shiit. My first degree is in soil science and hydrology.

Kiril
08-10-2010, 11:00 PM
These are the roots that occur from buds and not from a woody stem,etc.

These roots can occur from undifferentiated cells and/or the differentiation of derivative cells.

With respect to the rest .... what publication did you pull those big words out of and what does it have anything to do with this discussion?

JRM31
08-10-2010, 11:05 PM
To thinkgreen this is what I was talking about... http://www.mortonarb.org/deeptreeroots/rec_symptoms.html#advent scroll down a bit and there will be some pictures.

To Kiril I agree wording is everything and I should have read through my first posting a little closer to avoid confusion.
Anyway I agree that it could kill the tree, but a tree with a canopy that size is being sustained by more than that small mass that was behind the wall stones. Pruning could be done to the canopy to lessen the stress of the root pruining and he could at least work through some of the smaller roots to see what lies beneath all of the soil. Leaving all of the larger roots for a second opinion.

Smallaxe
08-11-2010, 09:43 AM
To thinkgreen this is what I was talking about... http://www.mortonarb.org/deeptreeroots/rec_symptoms.html#advent scroll down a bit and there will be some pictures.

To Kiril I agree wording is everything and I should have read through my first posting a little closer to avoid confusion.
Anyway I agree that it could kill the tree, but a tree with a canopy that size is being sustained by more than that small mass that was behind the wall stones. Pruning could be done to the canopy to lessen the stress of the root pruining and he could at least work through some of the smaller roots to see what lies beneath all of the soil. Leaving all of the larger roots for a second opinion.

I still want to see what it looks like b4 it's killed... :)

Stillwater
08-11-2010, 10:18 AM
This is great entertainment, the classic lawnsite argument

Think Green
08-15-2010, 10:57 AM
Kiril,
I did not copy and paste anything. I have a lot of older publications that was a part of my tree surgery study guides. I do not employ tree surgery methods anymore as it is a total dieing trade here. These publications are older..........from the 80's as my State University is a bit outdated on this subject. The state doesn't offer any further sources for tree formation and root structuring as it is learned from the nursery trade and business. Tree Injection is no longer in my methods of IPM! I meant no harm to the integrity of this thread. I thought these other words..........for the sake of viewing would spark some interest into the definitions and googleing.
Didn't mean to get your heckles up. !!

I agree with you on the one fact that if this person spends the efforts of removing all these root fibers and hacks on that root mess............the tree will die. Point Blank!
I have seen this mistake over and over and over again. Without the spinning wheels of proper identification...........names of roots and techniques, this tree needs to be brought back to level using soils around that exposed root ball and sloped downward. If by the grace of nature, the roots will have a medium to expand outward as they should have in the beginning but couldn't. This may be a simple means of explanations but it should be enough to survive that tree.

I am not going to knock you expertise at all..........that is wonderful you have such to gain over me. I will not argue the point!!!! Common sense is my point here of correcting a problem. Don't leave that root mass exposed any longer or just cut the tree down and start all over again and quit putting little rock fortresses around ornamental trees that are supposed to be planted by themselves with enough bed to allow for growth expansion and no competition from other sources such as turf.

Trees Too
11-25-2013, 02:22 PM
That is NOT a nitro deficient tree. Not that I know what it is, but I have seen similar looking leaves on Potassium deficient trees during stress. A soil test and or tissue test could provide more info.

Maple tree with yellowing leaf venation, is chlorosis from Manganese deficiency, and that raised bed with landscape stones ringed w/ retaining blocks only adds to trunk rot, and root binding.

How is the maple tree doing now??